ICYMI: A recap of the Fredericton South candidates debate

    The Fredericton South candidates debate took place in the St. Thomas University Kinsella Auditorium. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    The St. Thomas University Students’ Union and the University of New Brunswick Student Union hosted a Fredericton South riding candidates debate in advance of the New Brunswick provincial election set for Sept. 14.

    Participants of the debate included New Democratic Party Candidate Geoffrey Noseworthy, Green Party candidate and leader David Coon, Liberal Party candidate Nicole Picot and People’s Alliance Party candidate Wendell Betts. Progressive Conservative Party candidate Brian MacKinnon did not attend the debate.

    The candidates and their debate focuses:

    Geoffrey Noseworthy

    Noseworthy, who also goes by the name “Gaia,” is a mathematical and physics major at UNB. This is his first election.

    Geoffrey (Gaia) Noseworthy is the New Democratic Party candidate for Fredericton South. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    His summarized debate points are:

    • He said he supports mandatory vaccination for COVID-19 for schools while other diseases would be on a case-by-case basis. Noseworthy also stressed the importance of educating the public on the usefulness of vaccines.
    • He said the province should invest in diversifying green energy sources like wind, solar and tidal. He did not support the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station, saying it was expensive and the nuclear waste harmed the environment.
    • He said he wants to eliminate tuition at New Brunswick community colleges and reduce undergraduate tuition by 25 per cent.
    • He said he wants to create a universal mental health and Pharmacare plan for students across the province.
    • He said he wants to help international students by giving them the same support native New Brunswickers have.
    • He said he would change rules and regulations to make it easier for New Brunswickers to sell and produce food locally, including working with food banks and grocery stores to minimize food waste.
    • He said he believes there should be an inquiry about systemic racism in New Brunswick, but this time, the government needs to act on the recommendations from the inquiry.

    David Coon

    Coon is the leader of the Green Party and the current MLA of Fredericton South.

    David Coon is the Green Party leader and candidate for Fredericton South. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    His summarized debate points are:

    • He said he supports mandatory vaccinations for schools and large gatherings, like the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.
    • He said nuclear energy is neither “clean nor green” and that New Brunswick needs to look into renewable energy sources like wind, tidal and solar.
    • He said he would bring a framework to the Environmental Bill of Rights to tackle big environmental challenges like the extinction, or threat of extinction, of animals and plants in the province.
    • He said the Green Party is committed to eliminating tuition over time and wants to help students by creating a guaranteed livable income.
    • He said he wants the New Brunswick food sector to create a model like the New Brunswick craft beer industry where it’s all New Brunswick owned and their supply chain is based in-province.
    • He said the only way to combat systemic racism is through an inquiry to learn about the lived experiences of Indigenous Peoples and the changes that need to be made to the system, and acting on said recommendations.

    Nicole Picot

    Picot worked in public service for 30 years before retiring in June. She said her experience gave her a “unique perspective” on how government ran. This is her first election.

    Nicole Picot is the Liberal Party candidate for Fredericton South. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    Her summarized debate points are:

    • She said she supports mandatory vaccinations for school.
    • She said her government would focus on educating New Brunswickers on vaccinations to combat the growing anti-vaccination movement.
    • She said she supports investing in small nuclear reactors to help create job opportunities and as a way of clean energy, as well as investing in solar and wind.
    • She said she would restore the free tuition program in the province and invest in mental health services to help students.
    • She said she wants to support international students and their families by removing barriers that would prevent them from moving to New Brunswick.
    • She said that the Food Depot in Moncton is a good example of how to cut down on food waste, where grocery stores give excess food to the depot.

    Wendell Betts

    Betts has no background in politics. This is his first election.

    Wendell Betts is the People’s Alliance candidate for Fredericton South. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

    His summarized debate points are:

    • He said he is not against vaccinations, he believes that it is up to the parents to decide whether or not their child receives their vaccines. He said he believes it’s the role of the government to educate the public on vaccinations.
    • He said New Brunswickers are the province’s main resource and that “intelligent people” can create new clean energy.
    • He said New Brunswick needs to rid itself of plastic.
    • He said that Fredericton is a multicultural city and needs to support multiculturalism.